Story Excerpt
Heat of the Night

flame div

“You son of a bitch!” someone shouted. “I was trying to prevent this.”

Van spun in time to see the werewolf from the restaurant charging after him. He took on a fighting stance, prepared to lay waste to the shifter. “Back off before I arrest you.”

“Why the hell do you think I’ve been following Sy?” the man asked. “And you just gift wrapped him and handed him over.”

Van was confused as hell. “What are you talking about?”

The shifter paced in front of Van, grabbing his hair and yanking at the strands. He looked like he was having a nervous breakdown. “That demon was paid to kidnap Sy. I’ve been tracking him down for weeks while trying to keep Sy safe.”

“So, you’re not stalking Sy?” Van stabbed at a guess.

The guy gaped at Van. “Stalking Sy? Are you nuts? Why in the hell would I stalk him?”

On a personal level, Van was ready to wash his hands of the whole mess. But he couldn’t do that. The guard in him was ready to find that demon and pulverize the bastard. “How did you know the demon was after Sy?”

Van growled when the guy reached into his inner pocket.

“I’m just getting my ID,” the guy said. “Don’t even think about attacking me.”

Van relaxed his stance when the guy whipped out his leather ID holder and flipped it open for a brief moment before flipping it closed again. “Fangor Strigori, but call me Fang. I work for the Department of Demon Affairs. We’ve been tracking Daemon Brimstone for some time now, and I almost had him until Sy decided to go out on a date with you.”

“What does Sy’s personal life have to do with this?” Van asked.

“Regular routine,” Fang said. “We rely on it in order to catch our suspects.”

Van had a feeling he was dealing with another loon. The man used a lot of hand gestures and never made eye contact. But the badge had been real. Van would know the Ministry seal anywhere.

At least he thought it was real.

“Why does this Brimstone guy want Sy?”

“That’s what we’re trying to discover. Brimstone’s interest in Sy developed about six weeks ago. So far, I’ve been able to prevent Sy from getting taken.” Fang’s eyes strayed to the shadows behind Van. “Until you fucked that up, buddy.”

Van’s eyes narrowed. He didn’t see how this was his fault. “Maybe if you had told Sy what was going on instead of making him think you were stalking him, he wouldn’t have taken off.”

“I’m not stalking him!”

“Does he know that?”

“Of course he does. Why would—” Fang’s mouth slammed shut so fast Van wondered if the man had chipped a tooth. “Look.” Fang pushed a hand through his dark hair, his eyes darting around nervously. “I don’t have time to explain this all to you nor do I have to.”

Van whipped out his own leather ID holder, flipping it open to show off his badge. For a hot second, he felt like they were in some strange ID duel.

“Oh, find that in a Cracker Jack Box?” Fang smiled. “I got mine in a box of Lucky Charms. Those leprechauns really know how to make things look authentic.”

If he didn’t need the man to continue speaking so he could find out who had taken Sy and why, Van would have belted the wolf right in the mouth and made sure he chipped more than a tooth.

“No, I did not find my ID in a Cracker Jack box. I got it from the Ministry of Paranormal Affairs, just like you did.” A slight smirk crossed Fang’s lips that made Van wonder if the wolf had gotten his badge somewhere else. Maybe he really had found it in a cereal box. “How do we find Sy?”

“I find Sy by following the clues.” Fang made a shooing motion with his hand. “You can go do whatever you little bloodsuckers do.”

Van’s nostrils flared as he tried to hold in his anger. He had known Fangor Strigori all of five minutes and already he wanted to strangle the man. Working with him to find Sy was going to be damn near to impossible.

“Who paid this demon to kidnap Sy?” Demons never did anything unless it benefited them. Kidnapping a female impersonator didn’t seem like much of a benefit.

“I don’t know.” Fang’s chest heaved as he sighed deeply. “And that’s driving me nuts. I know that the contract was put out on Sy a few weeks ago. I know that Daemon Brimstone is the one that has him now. I even think I might know where Sy is being held. What I don’t know is who hired the demon in the first place.”

Van was going to smack the man. “If you know where he is being held then what in the hell are we doing standing around here? Let’s go get him.”

Fang held up a hand and then wagged his index finger back and forth like a wiper blade. “It’s not that simple.”

“Make it simple,” Van growled.

“The most likely place for Daemon Brimstone to take Sy is back to his father’s bordello.”

Van felt his stomach roll as all sorts of sick and twisted scenarios started going through his mind. “A bordello? This moron took Sy to a house of ill repute?”

“Well, it’s not like Daemon has a lot of friends. He’s a demon.” Fang spit out the word like it left a bad taste in his mouth.

Van cocked his head. “You have something against demons?”

Fang tucked the ID back into his pocket. “I have something against anyone that forces another into slavery.”

The need to find and rescue Sy suddenly became even more important. “You think he was kidnapped to be someone’s slave?”

Fang shrugged. “Is there ever a good reason to kidnap someone?”

Van couldn’t think of a single one.